30 Day Book Challenge: Day Fifteen

First chapter book you remember reading: Goosebumps – R.L. Stine

I never really fell in love with reading until I picked up The Hobbit when I was 12 or so. When I was a kid, my mom used to make me read these heavily annotated and illustrated kids’ versions of the classics, like Moby Dick, Great Expectations, Robinson Crusoe, etc, for my allowance (she’s a retired primary teacher). I didn’t really mind it, but I wasn’t overly thrilled by it; kinda like doing chores.

I can say with confidence that the “Goosebumps” series by R.L. Stine were my first chapter books – or at least the ones I read for myself, not school, etc. While I’m not sure which one I read first, I’ll just go with The Haunted Mask because that’s the one that sticks out most clearly in my memory. It also seems to be one of the more popular in the series.

Honestly though, I think I only really got into them because of the televised version on YTV. I used to love watching that and “Are You Afraid of the Dark.” I’ve always loved the horror genre and this was a kid friendly version that my parents would let me watch. I was also a big fan of Jim Carrey’s The Mask. Make of that what you will.

I think Goosebumps is great because they probably played a huge role in introducing kids to reading during the 90s. They’re decently written, and, from what I can remember, actually kind of scary. Kids have surprising bullshit detectors, and can usually tell when something’s lame and just pandering to parents, so I got respect for anyone who can make something engaging for a younger audience; I’m sure it’s a lot easier said than done.

I remember rather vividly the terror that overcomes the protagonist, and reader, when she can’t remove the mask. She feels her face and can no longer tell where the mask ends and her own flesh begins. It really gives you goosebumps on the back of your neck (I COULDN’T RESIST, I’M SO SORRY). I always say body-horror is the scariest genre: there’s nothing more terrifying becoming something alien or grotesque.

There’s also hints of Robert Louis Stevenson and C.J. Jung here, as the protagonist rubs up against her id while she’s wearing the mask. Dark desires of revenge and pleasure (she steals candy from a kid!!) emerge throughout the narrative. Her superego eventually tames the id (symbolized by the evil mask) by virtue of the mask her mother made for her – I’ll let you fill in the psychoanalytic symbols.

I won’t deny it: I got mad love for R.L.

the intro theme to the show also kicked ass!

Cheers,

-B

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~ by braddunne on July 15, 2011.

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